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The Four-Legged Municipality

Street Dogs of Istanbul

October 27, 2016 – April 22, 2017
Entry is free of charge.

Istanbul Research Institute, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No: 47, Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul


This archival exhibition, curated by Ekrem Işın and counselled by Catherine Pinguet, sheds light on the adventures of Istanbul’s street dogs, an integral part of the city’s social fabric in almost every period of its history. Photographs, travel journals, postcards, magazines, engravings and other media dated from the 19th to the early 20th centuries depict the coexistence between four-legged Istanbullus and the city’s human residents throughout the years.

The focus of this exhibition is mainly on the late Ottoman and early Republican period, when the fate of street dogs, which were the guardians of public property, began to change as the Ottomans grew closer to the ‘civilized’ world. Those Ottoman intellectuals who had seen the West were not at all pleased with the appearance of Istanbul: the streets were narrow and disorderly, the houses little more than ruins, the transportation system did not work and infrastructure was inadequate. When the dogs, which one never encountered in European cities, were added to this picture, it became a far cry indeed from the modern world. The four-legged municipality of the Ottomans was being transformed into the two-legged municipality of the Republic.


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